Ginger Baker’s Son Forced His Dad to Give Him Drum Lessons
Cream drummer Ginger Baker’s son Kofi said he had to force his dad to give him drum lessons, as he discussed the pair’s strained relationship in a new interview.
Kofi, along with Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm and Eric Clapton’s nephew Will Johns, are preparing for the September launch of their Music of Cream U.S. tour that pays tribute to the work of their relatives.
“Taking lessons from my dad wasn’t the easiest thing,” Kofi told Rolling Stone. “If I didn’t get something right immediately, he’d shout and swear at me and smack me around a little bit.” Asked how he'd feel when Ginger, who's now 78, dies, Kofi said, “It's not going to be like I've lost someone that I know. He's not really been in my life. He's been in my life very small amounts.
“The only time I've spent with my dad is forcing him to give me lessons. It's really only the drumming thing I really got from him. I think I've got everything from [him] I need drumming-wise. Technically, I've probably passed him, because drumming has gone a long way since my dad's era. I don't know. Who knows? I doubt I'll be that sad. It's kind of like he's already dead. He's disowned me so many times in my life. It's like he's been dead to me for a long time anyway.”
Kofi was critical of Ginger’s refusal to extend Cream’s brief 2005 reunion shows into a full tour, noting they had been offered $1 million per concert after the initial ones did so well. “I was like, ‘Wow, he's made $5 million. Things are going to change now,’" he recalled. "I said, ‘Dad, why don't you buy property with this money? The best thing you can do is buy real estate and I'll rent it from you. That way I'll pay money to you rather than someone I don't know.’ And he was like, ‘Fuck off, no. I'm buying my horses.’
“That's when I realized this guy doesn't give a shit. That was when I realized he doesn't really care. I emailed him a couple of days ago to just say, ‘Dad, what the hell? Why don't you support me or say something nice?’ No response. I just thought I'd try one more time. He's getting old.”
He also discussed his childhood without GInger, who left when Kofi was seven. “People always think, ‘Kofi Baker, he’s had everything given to him,’" he said. "Little do they know that I lived on the streets when I was 15. … We had the electricity cut off when I was 13. The gas cut off when I was 14. Then we got evicted when I was 14, and I broke back into the house and we squatted in our own house for, like, six months before they came and threw everything out the windows and smashed all our stuff up and bolted all the doors and we couldn't [get] back in again.”